The Young Avenger
Esprit de Corps
Direction: Four out of five. We have almost eight minutes of film footage in this episode, far more than usual, and probably very costly, but Don Leaver shows his talent for this, by convincing us that Steed is dead, and also giving his breaking in to the armoury a dark feel. We are just one step away from "Dial a Deadly Number."
Plot: Four out of five. Although the plot may be rather obvious towards the end of the episode, and not very relevant to those countries who no longer have monarchies, it is still very good, and has far reaching implications into both the past and the future, as one day, the whole of England will vote whether or not to have a republic.
Music: Two out of five. With only one more episode to go, ever, one would expect Dankworth to create some more music. However, it must be his off day, as the best music comes from the bagpipes. Oh dear.
Wittiness: Five out of five. I have not seen any of Eric Paice's other episodes, but for this one, I had to change my writers list, so all credit to him. Look at the high quality of the interplay between the leads. "Hasn't it occurred to you never to put leather in a washing machine?" "Cows must get wet sometimes." There is also the scene where Steed eats his last meal handcuffed to Jessup, and has to suffer the indignity of the '56!
Action: Three out of five. Cathy and Trench have a wonderful tussle in the gym, when he tries to take advantage of her, and she knocks the paste out of him. But at the end, there is a gun battle, and he is killed by Jessup!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. I spotted at least six cars and Land Rovers during the initial watching, and I could probably get more if I were to watch it again. Then we have the huge amount of location filming, and sets that are not actually that tacky, adding up to a very good score, one of the best of the season. Good effort for such close proximity to the end.
Introduction: Three out of five. Unfortunately, the start to this episode is immensely drawn out, and it could have been so much slicker, because we have to see all the drill that takes place before hand, which really puts us off. Unfortunate for such a good episode that we have to endure a long winded start.
Overall Impression: If Peter Hammond had been directing this one, it might have even surpassed "Dressed to Kill," my favourite Cathy Gale episode. However, the pacing is suspect and it is not very relevant to those outside England. Roy Kinnear and John Thaw make a wonderful pair of opposites, both as good as each other in their own way. We then have Steed almost being shot, and we learn heaps about his life. But the prize scene has to be the royal summons, which I am sure Honor Blackman enjoyed. As good as many a Season Four story.
Rating: Eight out of ten.
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